A chance meeting?

After completing my first Camino in 2013, and after receiving my Compostela and attending the midday Pilgrim’s Mass in the Santiago Cathedral, I then met up with the pilgrims that I’d walked with on and off during the past thirty days: Balazs, Laszlo, Rosa, and Ivan the Terrible and his Beautiful Wife Giovanna.

We went to Santiago’s classic restaurant, the O Gato Negro – and we had a long lunch, and I remember feeling a happiness I’d not felt since my wedding day (at that stage) some thirty-one years earlier.

As part of the film that’s now underway, a reimagining of my Camino Memoir, The Way My Way, we’ll be recreating that lunch in the same part of that tiny restaurant – and today we surveyed the location in preparation for the shoot.

So there were seven of us in the crew in the O Gato Negro today, combining our location survey with lunch, and we were at the same table in the same backroom where I’d had that lunch ten years earlier. A man sitting at a table across from us stared at me and called out: Are you Bill Bennett?

I said yes, and stood as he came over.

He was a big man, in his 70s, an American – and he said: I knew you were in Spain right now but I never thought I’d meet you.

He then went on to explain that he’d read my blog when I walked that Camino in 2013, then he read my book, then he went and saw my film PGS Intuition is your Personal Guidance System when it screened in San Diego in 2018 during its US cinema run. 

That was extraordinary in itself – that we should meet like that.
But the thing that knocked me out was this:

He told me that he read in my blog, then later in my book, that when I arrived into Burgos in 2013, I went immediately into the Cathedral. I was in a great deal of pain from my knee, and I found myself in one of the Cathedral’s chapels. There was a star on the floor of this chapel, made out of black and white tiles, well worn by the centuries. I stood on this star, then felt compelled to look up – and discovered that high in the vaulted ceiling above me was another star, made from leadlight glass.

Immediately I felt a rush run through my body, from the star above me, through the top of my head down through my body into my feet to the star I was standing on, then back up again. I described it at the time as a rush of divine ecstasy.

I then walked out of that Cathedral with no more pain in my knee. 

Anyway, this gentleman told me that a year later, in 2014, he was walking the Camino and he too was in pain when he got to Burgos. His pain was in his feet. He could barely walk. But he remembered what I’d written and so he made his way into the Cathedral and he found the chapel and he too stood on the star – and he too walked away with his pain gone. 

He told me this today in the little restaurant, and I felt incredibly humbled, I have to say. Humbled that I recognised once again that there are greater forces at work than I often acknowledge, and that these forces are working through me and through many others – as a reminder that “…there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” as Hamlet says to Horatio, and as I quote in PGS. 

I left that restaurant today feeling very strange – this gentleman, Dana Gassaway, said that he’d never been to that restaurant before but a Camino friend, Kelly Lin (a Taiwanese pilgrim and author), had suggested it, and had he not been in the backroom he would not have seen me (and recognised me from my blog.)

Not one hour earlier, I was speaking with one of our crew, Paco Plaza, (our brilliant Spanish locations fixer) about getting permission to film in the Burgos Cathedral, and I’d shown him photos of that star on the floor, and the domed star.

I’d explained to him what had happened. How after standing on that star the pain in my knee disappeared. Less than an hour later I met Dana in the O Gato Negro and he told me his story.

A chance meeting?
I don’t think so.
I don’t think so.

This film is coming together in ways that sometimes leave me in a state of awe and wonder.

Ten years later, I’m back to make a movie ~

Ten years yesterday, I walked into Santiago de Compostela and I stood in front of the Cathedral, like millions had done before me, and I called myself a pilgrim.

I had walked the Camino Frances, some 800kms from St Jean Pied de Port, but I’d walked most of the way in enormous pain with a knee that I would later discover was devoid of cartilage.

I’d walked bone-on-bone.

As I stood in front of the Cathedral I was expecting an epiphany as to why I’d put myself through what had been, at times, a torturous ordeal.

That epiphany never came.

So when I got back home to Australia I wrote a book, hoping that in the writing I would discover why I’d done the pilgrimage. That discovery never came either.

But I began to realise that walking the Camino had set in motion the impetus for change that would happen gradually over the next several years. The change was subtle, and stuttering, but cumulatively over a period of years the transformation was huge. So huge that I now divide my life into the years before the Camino and the years after the Camino.

And now I’m making a movie of that first Camino.

For the past few weeks I’ve been scouting locations during what we call pre-production of the movie. I’m here in Spain with the first troupe of crew – and I’m revisiting places that featured so prominently in my journey.

Yesterday I went back to the albergue in St Jean where I spent my first night before heading off the next morning. I walked through the ancient stone Porte and stood on the bridge where someone took my photo for me.

I walked into the Burgos Cathedral and stood on the star in one of the chapels of that magnificent structure and I looked up at the star above me, in the high ceilinged dome – and I remembered the flush of divine ecstasy that rushed through my body when I stood there ten years earlier.

One of the crew members asked me later how I felt about revisiting these places, reliving the experiences that would later change my life so fundamentally.

Strangely, I feel nothing.
It’s like it all happened to someone else.
I don’t feel in any way sentimental or charged with any great emotion.
I feel like an observer of someone else’s play, sitting at the back of the theatre, looking at it all through a Proscenium Arch.

Perhaps that’s because I’m about to make a film about me, my life, what happened to me – and I can’t afford to get too close. The only way I can make this film is if I stand outside the events, and the person that happens to be me.

As a director I have to look at this purely technically – I have to focus on the craft, and see this person as a character in a story that fascinates and intrigues me, and not because it’s my story, but because it’s a simply a story that I believe might have resonance to an audience.

As soon as I start to see this as my story, I’m dead in the water. It’s not my story. It’s the story of the millions of pilgrims that have walked the Camino before me, and the millions that will walk after me,

It’s a story of the inexplicable and mysterious capacity for the Camino to trigger personal transformation.

Crikey – tomorrow we leave!

Yikes – it’s come up so fast!

Tomorrow Jennifer and I leave for Europe. We’re going to Spain via Munich for a couple of days to see a dear friend who has swung his support behind the movie. Then on Saturday we fly to Madrid to meet up with Line Producer Annie Kinnane and Transport/Unit Manager Dave Suttor.

We’re spending a few days in Santiago de Compostela – the end point of the Camino – spending some time with Camino legend Johnnie Walker, who has very kindly swung his support behind our endeavour which, as the Mastercards ads say, is priceless.

Then we’re driving back to Burgos to meet the second wave of our team coming in.
Then we kick it off seriously.

I’d forgotten how difficult it is to make a feature film.

For the past several years I’ve been working on these theatrical feature documentaries – PGS and Facing Fear. And the next film in the series, on Hope as well. And whilst they’ve required all my skills and experience as a filmmaker, they’re go-karts in comparison to the Formula One of feature films. (If I can use an analogy from my recent newly acquired passion – F1.)

Making a feature film is a privilege.

Films last.
Unlike television which comes and goes,
films last.
I take that seriously.
I’ll have my name on this film and I take that very seriously.

Added to that is the complication that this is a film about myself.

I’ll write a separate blog later about how I didn’t want this film to be made, and how it came into being anyway – but for now let me just say that I don’t want to even think about the personal consequences of this film being poorly received.

I’m putting myself out there, big time.
I stand to be ridiculed as a filmmaker and as a person.
And I’m fine with that.
If you don’t step off the edge you can’t ever know what it’s like to fly.

But back to the production.

I now have the most perfect group of people to work with to make this film something very special. Each one has been handpicked not only for their technical expertise, but also for their “energy.” What they bring to the show energetically. And I don’t mean their enthusiasm, or vigor – I mean what they bring as spiritual beings.

And the cast is perfect too.

Like Nomadland, this is going to be a mix of actors and “actuals,” the actual pilgrims that I met along my way, and who have agreed to come back and play themselves in the movie.

Again I’ll talk more about the casting in a later blog, but just to say that the actors that are in this film will have to tailor their performances to the actuals. To the real people, if I can call them that. That’s going to be a huge acting challenge – to hit that level of truth and naturalism. But again, all the actors in this film are up to it.

Frances McDormand did it beautifully in Nomadland, and won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.

This is the first feature film I’ve made in thirteen years. And it was ten years before that, that I made The Nugget, starring Eric Bana. I don’t make a feature film unless I feel absolutely committed to telling that particular story. I’ve never been a director-for-hire. I’ve always generated my own material.

Actually, no – that’s not true. I was a director-for-hire on the Sandra Bullock movie I did for Warner Bros, but that was only because the producers who hired me originally were Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. I really wanted to work with those guys. But then the film went into turnaround and they stepped back. Such is the merry-go-round of Hollywood.

Jean Luc Godard famously said: All I need to make a film is a girl and a gun. (In fact that’s the common belief, that he said that – but I’ve done a deep dive and he was actually quoting from the legendary DW Griffith, director of Birth of a Nation.)

But that aside, I have my girl, I have my gun –
That’s all I need to make a film.

It’s jazz, baby…

Something occurred to me last night.

Most films are orchestral. And by that I mean they are structured, they are ordered. Everyone in the orchestra has their own set and defined roles. They all play music under the direction of the conductor, and according to the score sheets in front of them written by the composer.

The music is formal, at times stiff, and as well, clearly defined. When you go to a concert hall to hear an orchestra play Beethoven’s Fifth, you know what you’re going to hear. Sure, there’ll be some subtle variations according to the interpretation of the conductor, but basically you’re going to hear Beethoven’s Fifth.

The other thing about films being orchestral is that they are large. They are large and they are cumbersome. And because they are large they allow no deviation. A pianist playing Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto isn’t allowed to deviate markedly from Rachmaninov’s original score. And everyone else in that supporting orchestra knows their role and what to do and when to do it.

And when it all clicks it’s magnificent.
Orchestras can and do create transcendent music.
As do some films.
They create transcendent imagery.
And they stir emotions and the intellect unlike any other art form.

That’s why I love making films.

I’ve made my fair share of orchestral films in my time. I’ve walked onto sets in the US and the crew has been so large I haven’t know most of their names. I hated that. I’ve worked on films where, if you need to shift the unit to get a shot, it’s taken several hours, there were so many trucks. I’m not joking.

This next film I’m undertaking is not going to be an orchestral film.
It’s going be jazz, baby!
We’re going to be small and nimble and we’re going to riff.
We’re going to play off each other.
We’re going to create something fresh and vibrant and surprisingly unexpected.

A few years back I took my wife Jennifer to a restaurant in New York called Eleven Madison Park. It’s one of these fancy places where you have to book and pay six months in advance. But it was a special occasion – her birthday.

A fancy restaurant like that can also be orchestral. Large and formal and stiff. But what made this particular restaurant great, and interesting for me, was that they based their whole philosophy on Miles Davis – the legendary jazz musician.

Here’s a New Yorker piece on the restaurant, and the influence of Miles Davis:

The restauranteur compiled a list of eleven words that defined the music of Miles Davis, and he printed them up and hung them on the wall of his kitchen to remind himself and his staff that they needed “a little bit of Miles Davis” in their approach. Those words were:

  • Cool.
  • Endless Reinvention.
  • Inspired.
  • Forward-Moving.
  • Fresh.
  • Collaborative.
  • Spontaneous.
  • Vibrant.
  • Adventurous.
  • Light.
  • Innovative.

These are the words I’ll be bringing to this next film…

How to make a movie on the Camino

It’s been twelve years since The Way, a movie about the Camino starring Martin Sheen, and directed by his son Emilio Estevez, was made.

That film was the impetus for a lot of people to walk the Camino – and in commercial terms, the film made a lot of money. It did really well.

What’s interesting is that there hasn’t been another English language film made since. My movie, The Way, My Way, from my book of the same title, will be the first.

Why hasn’t there been another movie made since? There have been a lot of documentaries, and a few non-English speaking movies – but not an English language feature film.

One of the reasons is that logistically, it’s very difficult.

To capture the essence of the Camino, you really do have to traverse the entirety of The Way – 800kms. For a major production, that’s logistically difficult – what with all the trucks, finding accommodation for all the crew and cast (for a movie, that could be upwards of sixty people, usually more.) And anyone who knows the Camino knows that finding that number of beds – hotel beds, not albergue beds – is a big ask.

Film people wouldn’t ever sleep in an albergue!

The other thing that makes it difficult is that shooting a movie is disruptive. And you can’t disrupt the day-to-day operation of the Camino. You can’t “lock down” sections of the Camino to have your stars walk along an empty stretch of track, and stop pilgrims from walking through shot.

Pilgrims just wouldn’t cop that.

Then there’s the issue of the trucks. Any film production has a massive number of trucks. Moving them through historic towns and villages, often through very narrow lanes, would be a nightmare.

These logistical difficulties have haunted me these last several years.

I want my movie to be authentic, and truthful to the spirit of the Camino. I want it to be real. And whilst I admired The Way enormously, they got a lot wrong. You don’t wear jeans on the Camino, number one. The actress Debra Unger wore jeans and yes she looked great in jeans but it bugged the shit out of me the whole movie. So did the James Nesbitt character, the Irish actor. He wore jeans too. You don’t wear jeans on the Camino.

The actor playing the Dutch pilgrim had two trekking poles and he used them all wrong. That bugged the shit out of me too. Plus partway through the movie the poles disappeared and then he used a wooden staff. What happened to his poles?

I’m being picky, I know – and as I say, I admire the film greatly. And it’s done a huge amount to bring awareness of the Camino to a huge number of people. I aspire to that film’s success.

So what am I going to do?

For quite a while, this was going to be a big budget movie with star casting. I always felt uncomfortable with this approach, because of the logistical difficulties that I’ve mentioned. I always felt it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get that degree of verisimilitude that I sought.

And then Nomadland came along and for me, everything changed.

It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. It used a mix of actors and non-actors. It was shot in a way that I was familiar with, from my earlier films such as A Street to Die, Backlash, Malpractice, Mortgage, Kiss or Kill, In a Savage Land, and Tempted.

Suddenly I could see a way to make my Camino film without compromise.

And so that’s how I’m approaching it – with a stripped down crew, using many of the actual pilgrims that I met during my walk – they’re coming back to play themselves – and shooting it in such a way that the film captures the true essence of what it’s like to walk the Camino.

In a later post I’ll talk technical stuff – but just to say that it will be super wide screen – 2.40:1 format, and we’re using vintage Leica lenses – 1970’s and 1980’s glass.

Using these lenses will present some major technical difficulties for us, but the “Leica look” will be worth it. From an artistic point of view, I’m very excited by this. It will give the film quite a unique cinematic look and feel.

Once again here is a pic from that Camino I did ten years ago:

The film of the book is happening!

For those of you who’ve followed this blog for some time – and it’s been ten years now! – thank you for persevering with me. I’ve gone quiet for long periods, and have sashayed across to social media, mainly Facebook, to share my views with you.

But now I’ve decided to return to this blog, and write at least once a week, and if needs be more than that, detailing my preparations, and production of the film of my Camino memoir, The Way, My Way.

The book now has more than 1000 reviews on Amazon, the majority of them five-star reviews. Here is a link to the book on Amazon: The Way, My Way / Amazon.

I wrote the book after I completed my first Camino in May 2013 – in fact this coming Monday will be the 10th anniversary to the day that I set off from St Jean Pied de Port to walk to Santiago. Those of you who know my story know that it was both a difficult walk, because of a dreadful knee issue, but also an exhilarating time because it changed me, fundamentally.

I now divide my life into two parts, those years before I walked the Camino, and those years after I walked the Camino. That’s how much of an impact that walk had on me.

I wrote the book when I came back because I’d been expecting an epiphany in Santiago, after 30 days of, at times, excruciating pain. I wanted to know why I’d decided to walk this ancient 800km pilgrimage route across the top of Spain.

I wasn’t religious, I wasn’t Catholic – this wasn’t a bucket list thing for me, or any kind of athletic endeavour. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to myself, or to others. I really didn’t know why I’d undertaken this walk, I just felt an obsessive compulsion to do it.

I hoped that in writing the book, this would become clear to me – and in a sense, writing the book was, for me, the completion of my walk.

I decided to self-publish, because I didn’t think a publisher would be interested – plus I knew any advance I would get would be paltry. The book has been a major success, and ten years down the track it’s still selling strongly.

I will tell you in another blog how this film – which we start shooting in May – came about. I had no intention of making a film from the book. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I did not want a film about myself, and my failings, and my dickheadedness – if that’s even a word.

But a veteran film distributor – Richard Becker – read the book, it had a big impact on him, and he felt otherwise. He thought it would make a terrific film, and one that would have broad commercial appeal.

So here we are, three weeks out from leaving for Spain, with three weeks location recce then the shoot starts on 22nd May.

I now have my crew in place, most of the cast, and the actual pilgrims I met along the way are coming back to play themselves! To that extent, the film will be like Nomadland, with a small discreet crew and using a mix of actors and “actuals.”

I’ll write more over Easter, but please subscribe to this blog so that you get my updates. I won’t be on social media much anymore until after the shoot – I simply don’t have the time – but I will be keeping this blog updated.

I’m very excited to be making this film – I hope I can capture the tone and the character of the book. That’s my aim.

More to come soon!

How Judgment works ~

Judgment is a sly and wicked beast.

Here’s how judgment works on the Camino.
It works with a simple innocent question:

Where did you start from?

With that one question, you put judgment into train.
Oh, you started from Sarria did you?
(Meaning, you did the minimum walking required to get your Compostela)

Immediately you find yourself judging that person.
You’re not a true pilgrim, you say to yourself.
I started at St Jean Pied de Port.
I’ve walked further than you.
I’m better than you.

Or –

Bloody hell, you started in St. Petersburg?
Are you serious?
That’s gotta be like, five thousand ks or something, no?
You’re a shitload better pilgrim than me!

The Camino is a great place to shed judgment. For starters, most pilgrims are stripped of those material things that might prompt judgment.

You meet a pilgrim on the track and you are denied information about where they live – castle/mansion/free-standing house/semi-detached house/townhouse/unit/rented/owned/back seat of their car.

Or the kind of car they might drive – Bentley/Mercedes/Tesla/Kia/Kombi-van/junkheap aka shitbox.

And you can’t judge pilgrims by their accessories.

Women don’t often wear jewellery as a rule, and men tend to leave their Rolexes or their Philippe Pateks at home. Most pilgrims wear the same kind of clobber. Some might go upmarket and wear Jack Wolfskin or Arc’teryx, some might have bought all their gear from Decathlon, the big European discount store. But by and large you’ve got very little to judge people on.

It’s hard to judge pilgrims based on the usual criteria we use to judge. But given that we just love to judge, we’re then left to use other more nuanced means, such as the above innocent question.

One of my favourites was: How much does your backpack weigh? I could make very serious judgements about a person based on their response.

If their backpack was way in excess of 10% of their body weight I would classify them as a novice pilgrim. If their backpack was way less than 10% of their body weight I would classify them as an idiot. If they told me to fuck off I’d respectfully nod and fuck off.

At the heart of judgment is separation.
And a belief that you are inherently better than the person you’re judging.

You know more, you have more, you have better style and taste, you have superior skills, in one way or another you are better than the person you’re judging.

And in determining this, you feel better about yourself.

I try not to judge anymore.
It’s difficult, but I’ve learned the difference between judgment and discernment.

Judgment is a hierarchical mechanism. With the person judging being higher up the hierarchical scale than the person being judged.

Discernment is a preferential mechanism. What do you prefer? What’s appropriate and what’s not? There’s no separation in discernment.

We can’t take judgment out of our system. We need judgment to make cogent choices. But instead of using judgment to separate, we can use discernment to determine what’s a better fit, without the need to condemn or vilify or ridicule.

I can go to a movie and I can come out and say I like that movie or I don’t like that movie and I can choose to say what I say using either judgment or discernment.

These days I try and use discernment.
Except when it comes to Marvel movies…

Camino changes – hotels…

It’s been over a year now since I walked the Camino Frances, and the changes that I experienced during the walk are still within me. Here’s an example:

My wife Jennifer and I are traveling through the US at the moment. It’s a massive road trip – already we’ve covered more than 3,000mls in ten days.

In the past, whenever I’ve traveled, I’ve always stayed in good digs. And by good, I don’t mean expensive good, I mean reasonably priced good.

One of the things that terrified me before I walked the Camino was staying in albergues. The notion of dorm styled accommodation didn’t sit well with me. I liked my privacy, my creature comforts, and my security. I liked my own bathroom. I knew I’d have none of these sleeping in an albergue.

My first night in St. Jean Pied de Port was spent in an albergue. And I continued to sleep in albergues for the majority of the walk. I liked the camaraderie, the friendships formed, the discussions over communal dinners – and I liked the feeling of stepping outside my normal pattern of behaviour. Doing something different. Challenging myself.

Yes I stayed in a Parador once – and I loved it. I was sore and exhausted, and I needed it. And I stayed in hotels now and again too, when I needed privacy and space.

I’m not one to extoll the virtues of albergues because I believe it makes the pilgrimage more pure. I think that’s a complete nonsense. Whether you sleep in Paradors or Church cloisters, it makes no difference. You’re still a pilgrim.

Cut back to: My US road trip.

A couple of nights ago Jennifer and I stayed in a forty buck a night motel in a small sleepy town in Mountain Home, Idaho. It was called the Highlander Motel, and I know I would not have stayed there if I hadn’t walked the Camino.

ws motel.2

There was a Best Western a mile away – costing $129 a night. Before the Camino, I would have stayed there, no question.

But I drove in to the Highlander, walked into reception, and was given a boisterously warm welcome by the manager, an Indian fellow by the name of Jalan Patel. I asked him where in India he came from – he told me a village north of Bombay – and it turned out I’d once driven through that village.

It must have been very strange for him to be talking to an Australian in Idaho about his ancestral home in Bombay. For me, it was rewarding to be greeted so warmly, and to find a personal connection with the fellow.

I asked to see a room and he gave me a key.

The room was fine. There was no reason not to stay there, other than it was cheap. And that thought – that fear – defines one of my changes post Camino.

In my work as a filmmaker, I’ve had to stay in some dives, let me tell you. Early in my career when I was making documentaries, I traveled all around Australia, all around the world, and the work took me to some very remote places where there was little or no choice as to where I slept.

I remember once sleeping in shearers quarters in the Outback, with a huge red-belly black snake under the bed. It lived there. I had to be careful where I put my feet when I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I discovered the red-belly black snake often shifted to the cooler bathroom at night.

The other side of the coin is that in my life as a movie director, I’ve stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. For two months, Warner Bros put me up in a five star hotel on Park Avenue in New York. The suite had four bathrooms, all with marble floors and gold taps. And I was there by myself. Try as I might, I couldn’t use all four bathrooms at the same time.

The motel room in Mountain Home Idaho had everything I needed:

  • Large bed with comfy mattress – CHECK


  • Bedside tables with lamps – CHECK

bedside lamp

  • Power outlet by bed – CHECK

power outlet

  • Table and chairs – CHECK

table and chairs

  • TV (not plasma screen, but hey…) – CHECK


  • Clock on wall – CHECK

clock on wall

  • Fridge and Microwave – CHECK

fridge and microwave

  • Air-conditioner – CHECK

air conditioner

  • Hanging space with hangers too – CHECK

hanging space

  • Eco-friendly lights – CHECK


  • Washbasin with nice colours – CHECK

wash basin

  • Bath with nice colours – CHECK


  • Shower with shower curtain – CHECK


  • Additional toilet paper – CHECK

extra toilet roll

  • Free wifi, that worked – CHECK

wifi sign

  • Vending machine by front door – CHECK

vending machine

  • Free parking – CHECK

ws motel

The swimming pool was not really suitable for swimming, unless you were a frog or a mosquito larva.


The grounds needed tending, admittedly –


But in a corner for some inexplicable reason there was a patch of green grass complete with sprinkler.

grass with sprinkler

And I liked the signage out front.


As I was about to leave, I swapped cricket stories with Mr. Patel who was upstairs collecting the linen from the rooms that had checked out.

Mr. Patel

The Camino has taught me that there’s something wonderful in simplicity, and thrift.

The Highlander Motel didn’t have four bathrooms with marble floors. It didn’t have gold taps. But it had a firm bed with clean sheets, it had free wifi that worked and was fast, it had good bedside light and power outlets where I didn’t have to shift a bed to plug in my laptop.

And it was $41 for the night, including taxes.

The way I looked at it, It was way better than some of the albergues I’d stayed in. It had everything I needed for a good night’s rest.

If I hadn’t walked the Camino, I would have stayed in the Best Western. I wouldn’t have met Mr. Patel, I wouldn’t have talked cricket, and I wouldn’t have had nearly as good a time…




Camino Portuguese 14 – my favourite pics

Here are the few shots that I took that I quite like.

They’re not coffee table book shots. I have a real problem taking those shots. I’m not good at that kind of photography.

The shots below are not meant to represent the Camino we just completed. They’re just odd little pics that I took along the way that speak to me, and probably to no-one else.

Bom du Jesus snapper Cyclist looking at factories Washing line Sign walking down stairs


Chairs on Camino

slippery slide

Steve posing Cranes girl with blue specs

chicken thru wire.3

man in pontevedra street freezer trio masked against wall

boy with cross in church

crossed legs




Camino Portuguese Day 13 – farewells pt1

Today was our last day together as a group.

church in late light

It was Easter Sunday, and some of the group went to Mass. Marie volunteered as a helper for the English Mass, and at the end of the service the Botafumerio was swung. Marie has a problem with crowds, which has kept her out of packed services, but today she overcame that fear and witnessed something she never thought she would ever see.

She was delighted.

We then walked to lunch, and we shot a group photo – this time with Steve included. (He wasn’t in the group shot yesterday.) The group showed their best side…

backside backside with Caterina's legs

And then their not-so-best side…

group shot.1

We had a terrific lunch at one of Santiago’s top restaurants, away from the tourist crowds and frequented by locals in the know.

Afterwards the girls wanted a shot just of themselves, which I objected to because I thought it was sexist, so I did my darnedest to mess the photo up.

girls shot.thru glass

(Glass half empty or glass half full?)

Begrudgingly, I then took a more considered photo.

girls shot.1

After lunch we said our farewells to Catarina. We gave her a group hug – she has been fantastic, and everyone adored her.

group hug with Catarina catarina crying catarina crying3

She felt very teary as she walked away, back to the van which she would then drive back to Mercedes in Porto.

catarina walking away catarina walking away shell

If ever we do another Portuguese tour, (and we’re considering another one in October,) then Catarina will be a part of it.

Tomorrow pretty much everyone leaves, except for Steve and Arlene, who are staying on an extra week. Jennifer and I fly out Tuesday for 10 days in Ireland.

I’ill write a series of posts over the next week or so, reflecting on the time we’ve had together. But just to say it’s been an extraordinary two weeks. We’ve formed friendships that will last a very long time, we’ve laughed so hard that we’ve almost needed resuscitation, we’ve stayed in some beautiful hotels in some gorgeous towns and eaten some truly wonderful meals, we’ve walked through some spectacular countryside, and some have had profound revelations about their lives.

They will go back home with a vastly different view of life.

This has not been a decadent five star jaunt – this has definitely been a spiritual journey. Yes we’ve stayed in some nice digs, and yes the van has been there for support when needed, but this has been a very real pilgrimage for everyone involved.


It hasn’t been an easy walk, and when we got our Compostelas yesterday there was a very real sense that we’d damn well earned it. There wasn’t one of us didn’t appreciate what it meant. We’d walked the Camino Portuguese.

From a personal point of view, I’ve had an extraordinary time. I’ve learnt so much from this wonderful bunch of people, and I’ve been humbled by them and inspired by them. I will remember these last two weeks as being a very very special part of my life.

To all those in the group – thank you so much. Thank you for taking the risk of coming along, thank you for trusting Jennifer and me, and most importantly thank you for being the wonderful human beings that you are.

You are the ones that have made this tour something so very memorable.

And we had fun, hey?

group shot

group shot wider